Design: Bluewater 56

Stephens Waring Yacht Design manages a unique set of trade-offs in this passage-making cruising yacht.

May 6, 2013


The compromises that define a yacht’s character come from every imaginable direction. A demand for space and equipment belowdecks often dictates the shape of the underbody and the yacht’s appearance above the waterline. The client’s goal for ultra-high performance determines the yacht’s exterior — even in the superstructure if reducing windage is important — and establishes what’s possible in the accommodations. Stephens Waring Yacht Design (SWYD) has chosen a middle road in the creation of the Bluewater 56. Borrowing themes from its design of the 76-foot Isobel, SWYD drew a crisp and business-like deckhouse, which avoids quoting the current styling trends of European designs, but more important, it’s nearly vertical sides and moderately raked front windows create the maximum amount of usable volume in the salon. Big windows all around provide the crew with an extraordinary amount of light and excellent views. The slim coach roof, its jaunty angle recalling that of a proper English gentleman’s motoring cap, adds interest to the Bluewater’s overall appearance. Tilting it to horizontal would erase an important focal point and reduce the superstructure’s visual impact from “isn’t that cool” to “ho-hum.” Courtesy Stephens Waring Yacht Design


This yacht would look perfectly fine without the deckhouse, but she would lose her marvelous sightlines and the easy passage from amidships to the swing-out swim platform. That’s a significant part of her charm as serious cruising yacht, and the primary reason her superstructure looks the way it does. The deckhouse also gave SWYD a place to mount the mainsheet traveler, which maintains an unobstructed path fore and aft. Although this rendering gives a hint of the sweep in the sheer line, you need a direct profile to get the best perspective. The nearly plumb bow stands proud at the stem head; the sheer flows aft and down to its lowest point just abaft the boarding gate and then gently rises to the transom. It suits the overall aesthetic very nicely. This stem may be a styling element, but it’s by no means a gimmick. It allows the longest waterline on a given overall length and provides the most useful space in the forepeak. A substantial amount of flare in the bow sections restrains the aggressive entry’s habit of shipping solid water and spray over the decks. Courtesy Stephens Waring Yacht Design


SWYD has produced a fascinating alternative to the current crop of raised-salon cruising yachts, and at the perfect size for a couple to run. If someone decides to build her as drawn, I plan to be first in line for a sea trial. LOA: 56’0 (includes fixed bowsprit) DWL: 50’3” BEAM: 16’1” DRAFT: 7’9” DISPL.: 41,000 lb. SAIL AREA: 1,677 sq. ft. SA/DISPL. RATIO: 22.6 DISPL./DWL RATIO: 144 FUEL: 250 gal. WATER: 200 gal. ENGINE: 1 x 90 hp Steyr diesel sail drive Courtesy Stephens Waring Yacht Design

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